You need an external Guru or teacher to help guide you towards your inner Guru, which will always lead you in the right direction. I’m fortunate to have had several inspiring Gurus on my path.
All life is an expression of energy, an expression of the underlying unity of all. We as human beings are an energetic system, and when we’re flowing we feel good. We feel connected, on purpose, and we feel that there’s a deep knowing guiding us in the right direction. When we don’t flow, we feel a sense of disconnection – a cutting off from the source. In yoga this is called avidya, or ignorance of our ESSENTIAL NATURE, which is unbounded consciousness. This underlying flow state is known as Samadhi.
The way that this is achieved and stabilised is by removing the interruptions on all the different levels of being so that flow can happen. We have to train the senses, the body, the breath and the mind (both conscious and unconscious) to flow, and then we do the practices to create a state where they all flow together and our essential nature shines through. This is Samadhi, and this is the basis of my teachings with Yogacoach.
Yoga science tells us to go to the inner levels of our being and be guided by that light that is already within us. If you understand that light within, when you are introduced to that light, you will not look outside of yourself for any other outer guidance.
When you’re starting on the path, it’s important to have someone who can guide and help you. You need an external Guru or teacher as a means to attain the Guru within – the light within – which will always lead you in the right direction. As a Yogacoach, we are always guiding our students to connect with this light within, our inner Guru. Anyone who leads you to this place is your Guru – teachers come in many shapes and forms.
“There is an intelligent momentum that pervades the universe that is moving all human beings towards the perfection that we call God. Guru is that intelligence. Everyone’s receptivity to that intelligence varies. It depends on preparation, which includes the development of non-attachment and practice. In other words, Guru is always there, but the student may not be ready to receive what the Guru has to offer. When the student is prepared, the Guru always arrives to help the student do what is necessary to progress in removing the veil of ignorance. It is said that when the wick and oil are properly prepared, the master lights the lamp.”
I myself have been incredibly fortunate to have some fantastic teachers, and they all arrived at different times in my life, depending on what I was ready to learn (or hopefully ready to learn). They have impacted my life in numerous, numerous ways that have been fulfilling and rewarding, and I think in a sense there’s no way to find words to really thank them. But these teachers have shaped the person that I am today. They have shaped how I communicate myself and what is offered through the Yogacoach system.
The Yogacoach system is set up in the best possible way that I know how, to use yoga as a model to benefit others – to be of service, and to help people move back to that inner light, that inner Guru, where they can start to live their life from true knowing.
At this point I’d like to talk a little bit about my teachers, to acknowledge them, to thank them, and to give you a little bit of an understanding of how they have influenced my life and influenced the Yogacoach training system.
Julie has been a teacher of mine since 1991. She has a PHD in Somatics and is at the forefront of the understanding and application of evolving studies in consciousness, especially from the understanding of Tibetan Buddhism.
A lot of the language in my writing comes directly from the way Julie communicates information and I’m always hearing Julie in myself when I’m teaching or writing.
The main gift that I’ve received from my relationship with Julie as a teacher, mentor and friend is the understanding that wellbeing is inherent, and that by practicing it regularly above all else, wellbeing will become ordinary.
Julie has written some great books including The lover within and How to feel as good Aa you can in spite of everything.
SWAMI JNANESHVARA BHARATI (SWAMI J)
Swami J is a direct student of Swami Rama who was the founder of the Himalayan Master Institute. One thing that I really value about Swami J is that he’s taken the direct teachings of Swami Rama and his lineage and put them into a contemporary, easy-to-understand form that is readily applicable to our modern lives.
Swami J’s website is an amazing resource to yogis/yoginis all over the world. My time spent with Swami and the information on his website has helped to greatly deepen my understanding of authentic Yoga. There are many references to Swami J in my teaching notes as he expresses himself with such inimitable clarity.
OM GURUDEV – JANGLIDAS MAHARAJ
Om Gurudev or Guruji to me is an embodiment of love. I first met him in 2000, the first time he’d left India, and was instantly drawn to this diminutive Indian Sage.
In our teachings we talk about being aligned in the three power centres of the body: the base (representing power), heart (kindness) and mind (clarity). The first thing you notice when meeting Guruji is that he’s incredibly loving and accepts beings as they are. When spending time around him, you also see the power in action as ashrams, schools and medical facilities manifest around him seemingly with ease. And finally, of course, there’s complete clarity where wisdom is always present.
Guruji does very limited verbal teachings. It’s all about meditation with a focus at the heart, using this tool as a primary means to the highest human endeavour – Realising the SELF.
Rinpoche is a spiritual leader in Tibetan Buddhism. I also met Rinpoche the first time he left India to get rehabilitation for a bad leg and hip injury.
Rinpoche is my friend and also my teacher, yet he never teaches anything to me directly. Rather, through his relationship with me, lessons are always sneaking up on me. One of the things that Rinpoche models really well to me, which is also represented in all the spiritual texts, is “living in the world but not of the world.”
He plays cricket, likes Indian dance and movies, yet there is no attachment. And when the serious work needs to happen, he is dynamically active in benefiting others.
Rinpoche lives an ordinary life, but there are so many other aspects playing that make a positive difference to others. One of my favourite places to go is to Aenpo Rinpoche’s monastery in the Himalayan Mountains of Northern India. It’s a place of friendship, love and solitude.
My teachers have inspired me in so many, many ways. They’ve been there to guide me and make me more aware of that essential nature that largely we have forgotten. Their role has always been to make me aware of that inner reality. In some ways, I guess they’ve done their job very well, because as I’ve begun to trust this more, my teachers have moved away. While this brings a sense of sadness to me, I know that their role has been completed. I don’t spend as much time with my teachers as I used to – but I know that any time that I need them, any time that I’m stuck, they are there for me. I also know that I can call on the bigger body – energetically, I can connect with my teachers and remember them when it is needed.
Through their guidance, I can only hope to be half as much of benefit to others as they’ve been to me. The external teacher is really important at the beginning of the path, but their role is just to bring awareness to that inner reality. Their role is to mirror to us in the places where we get stuck and to give us the practices that are useful or necessary to move beyond this. As this begins to happen, our consciousness begins to expand and the inner light express itself with a greater and greater intensity. When this happens we are connected to our inner Guru. At this time it is likely that the external teacher falls away, but they are always there. They’re always present in my words, in my thoughts, in my teachings – this is what we call lineage.